Ever-dissatisfied world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka began her build-up to the Australian Open with an imposing 6-3, 6-3 victory over big-serving Sabine Lisicki in the Brisbane International second round yesterday.
The land Down Under wasn't quite as kind to men's No 1 Novak Djokovic, the other defending Australian Open champion.
Azarenka, the reigning women's champion at the season's first slam event, made light work of Lisicki to set up a quarter-final clash against qualifier Ksenia Pervak, while Djokovic lost a singles match in Perth at the Hopman Cup.
"I'm such a picky person that I probably never will be satisfied," Azarenka told reporters. "That's a good thing because I have a lot more matches to play and I can always improve. But it was pretty good.
"I felt like the things that I've been working on are there. I'm getting into the competitive groove and I'm happy where I'm at right now."
Bernard Tomic defeated Djokovic 6-4, 6-4, to earn the best win of his career in the Australia-Serbia tie at the Hopman Cup team event. Djokovic was generous in defeat and conceded that Tomic deserved his victory.
"He played really well, he deserved to win," Djokovic said. "I knew I was coming here to Australia really late and it still takes time for me to get used to it."
Djokovic flew to Australia after winning the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi a day earlier.
"I'm not taking anything from his win," Djokovic said.
"He played terrific. He's in great form. I was always on the back foot and he was the better player."
Azarenka faces a challenge to her top ranking from world No 2 Maria Sharapova and No 3 Serena Williams when the Australian Open begins at Melbourne Park on January 14.
"I actually don't really look at defending anything - I'm just looking to win," she said. "I'm going to have the same mindset for as long as I'm playing. That's what I'm looking forward to - improving my game as I always do and match those big challenges, the big players.
At the Qatar Open, Nikolay Davydenko reached the quarter-finals by beating fourth-seeded Mikhail Youzhny 7-5, 6-3.
At Chennai Open in India, second-seeded Janko Tipsarevic beat France's Edouard Roger-Vasselin, 6-2, 6-3 in the second round. Tipsarevic also played last week in Abu Dhabi.
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